Studies Show That Violence Prevention Saves Cities Money — Lots of Money

3 smiling men pose wearing maroon Cities United T-shirts

Cities United

Cities United Executive Director Anthony Smith (center) says there’s an obvious moral argument for violence prevention but financial arguments are not their opposite. He was with Hampton, Va., Mayor Donnie Tuck (left) and Louisville, Ky., Mayor Greg Fischer at the organization’s 6th Annual Convening in August 2019.

In the 18 years Paul Tutwiler has led the Northwest Jacksonville Community Development Corporation in Florida, the organization has tried a variety of strategies to reduce the neighborhood’s high levels of violent crime, all of them in collaboration with the local sheriff’s office. None have worked. 

“We realized that while we have had some successes in being able to make some improvements in the neighborhood, we really were not solving the problem,” he said. “In fact, we were displacing the problem — removing the problems to other areas, and sometimes, right around the corner or a couple of blocks over.” 

The problem needed a fresh look — and to Tutwiler and many other Jacksonville leaders, that look was Cure Violence. The program, which originated in Chicago, aims to reduce violence by approaching it as a communicable disease: In the immediate aftermath of a shooting, trained violence interrupters and outreach workers work in the community and at hospitals to prevent the spiral of retaliatory violence that often follows. 

They also connect the highest-risk people with services and support, and work to change community norms, which Tutwiler said is critical: “The problem began when we ignored the individuals in front of our house or allowed them to sell drugs or engage in this behavior,” he said. For the safety of its workers, the program does not engage with law enforcement. 

The program currently operates in more than 25 U.S. cities and 15 countries, and it has demonstrated dramatically positive results: a 56% reduction in killings in Baltimore; a 63% reduction in shootings in the South Bronx; 100% reductions in retaliation homicides in five of eight Chicago communities. Similar programs, like Advance Peace, the Group Violence Intervention and many hospital-based violence prevention programs have also had durable results. 

All rely on the use of credible messengers — “people who are respected community members who chose a different path,” said Marie Crandall, a surgeon at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Jacksonville. Her experiences with Cure Violence during her Chicago medical training led her to advocate for Jacksonville’s adoption of the program. 

The ‘wrong-pockets problem’

According to Cure Violence’s calculations, the program doesn’t just save lives — it saves money: Every dollar spent on the program reduces medical and criminal justice costs by nearly $16. Increasingly, activists and city administrators are realizing that the true savings of violence prevention are likely even higher than that — and that the financial case for implementing violence prevention programs may be the most compelling one to some stakeholders. 

Although economists have been examining the cost of violence for decades, several recent efforts have yielded some staggeringly large estimates of the potential savings to taxpayers that even small reductions in urban violence could produce. 

Serious-looking man with graying hair, mustache, beard, wearing glasses, dark blue jacket, light blue shirt.

Basic Books

Thomas Abt

“Basically, anything you do to address urban gun violence pays for itself many times over, even if it’s only moderately effective — even if it’s expensive, because the cost of a single homicide is so expensive,” wrote Thomas Abt in an email. He’s a senior fellow at the Council on Criminal Justice and author of the book “Bleeding Out: The Devastating Consequences of Urban Violence – and a Bold New Plan for Peace in the Streets.”

Still, funding violence prevention often runs up against the “wrong-pockets problem,” said Abt — the question of whether the city official who makes a violence prevention decision sees the windfall that decision yields. “That’s very hard to figure out, and so the idea that you can change a particular policymaker’s behavior is much harder because they may not see those savings,” he said. 

Still, violence prevention is often presented as “the right thing to do” without also being presented as the financially responsible thing to do. 

There is an obvious moral argument for violence prevention, said Anthony Smith, executive director of Cities United — but financial arguments are not their opposite. They’re just easier to sell to folks who “might see it as a moral thing,” he said, but “don’t move in a way that they would move if it were the economic and bottom line.”

Cities United helps cities comprehensively prevent violence by supporting their implementation of violence interruption programs and facilitating other, longer-term systems-change work.

How to price gun violence

City administrators need to know how much violence costs to determine how much money violence prevention saves. The great majority of violent crime in the U.S. involves guns — and in any city, a cascade of events follows a shooting, beginning at the scene of the crime. Police, fire department and emergency medical services respond to the scene, and a police investigation takes place. 

Once evidence is gathered, a specialized company conducts a cleanup of the crime scene. Gunshot victims are stabilized in trauma centers and often undergo surgery, inpatient hospital care and stay in rehabilitation centers. 

Meanwhile, the case against the alleged perpetrator of a shooting moves through the criminal justice system, which usually includes prosecution by the district attorney and defense by the public defender and a court process. During this process — and afterward, if a guilty verdict is handed down — the alleged perpetrator is incarcerated in a county or city jail, then in state prison.

In the case of a homicide, gunshot victims may be autopsied and must be buried, and their surviving loved ones may require bereavement support and additional financial support if the victim was the household’s main breadwinner. Surviving gunshot victims are often temporarily or permanently disabled and unable to return to work. In the case of incarceration of the alleged perpetrator and/or death of the victim, neither will pay income or sales tax.

Each of these points in the cascade costs money — but exactly how much? In 2018, the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (NICJR) tried to answer that question in a series of studies of the cost per shooting in six U.S. cities. The lowest cost for a fatal shooting was in Mobile, Ala. ($765,000) and the highest was in Stockton, Calif. ($2.5 million). 

2 smiling men, one in T-shirt, the other in blue police or security officer uniform, stand under tent outside.

Courtesy of Paul Tutwiler

Paul Tutwiler (left), CEO of the Northwest Jacksonville Community Development Corporation, says it’s critical that Cure Violence works to change community norms.

The estimated costs were for shootings involving one suspect, and often nearly doubled when two suspects were involved. The biggest costs — which were likely to also affect state budgets — came from incarceration, which at minimum cost more than four times any other sector’s costs. 

The cost to prevent one homicide is about $30,000, Abt estimates, in the context of a city’s rollout of a combination of violence prevention efforts. Using that figure, the return on a violence prevention investment in Mobile would be nearly 26-fold; Stockton’s investment would return $83 for each dollar spent. Even with prison placement costs removed, the return on investment would be substantial: 9-fold in Mobile and 16-fold in Stockton.

The savings of less violence

In a 2012 report, the Center for American Progress (CAP) presented estimates of the costs of violent crime to eight U.S. cities, including Jacksonville. In addition to many of the costs later counted in the NICJR studies, the CAP report tried to quantify the intangible costs of survivors’ pain and suffering. 

It also presented an analysis of the savings each city could expect if its violent crime rates decreased by either 10% or 25%. These savings included lower spending on police departments and courts and higher revenues from income earned by people who otherwise would have been crime victims or perpetrators.

But it was another source of savings that dominated a potential lower-crime landscape: housing values. The report found that homicides had a remarkable influence on the cost of housing in the neighborhoods where they took place: On average, reducing homicides in one ZIP code in one year yielded a 1.5% increase in housing values in that ZIP code the following year. The results were robust and consistent across the metropolitan areas of all eight cities. 

When housing values increase, the property tax revenues assessed also eventually rise. Over time, higher-valued housing stock leads to increased home sales, permitting and construction costs, all of which add dollars to city coffers. In turn, these changes draw business investment in neighborhoods, presenting additional sources of tax revenue.

The CAP report did not go so far as to project financial gains from the downstream effects of increasing housing values, nor to estimate the dollar value of increases in property tax revenue — it only projected cities’ expected total increase in the value of its housing stock with a 10% reduction in homicides. In Jacksonville, that expected increase was $600 million.

The NICJR studies did not consider lost property revenues among their costs. But in 2019, the city of Philadelphia did: After a year in which the city saw more homicides than in a decade, the office of its controller published a report that focused on the financial losses the city has sustained due to homicides, particularly on lost property value and tax revenue.

Philadelphia Controller Rebecca Rhynhart has seen other worthwhile projects go unfunded because cities argue they cannot afford them. “What I wanted to show,” she said, “is that there really isn’t an argument to be made that we don’t have the resources to fight this.”

The report centered on the link the CAP report had identified between neighborhood safety and home value. Philadelphia found that on average, eliminating one homicide would lead to a 2.3% increase in sale prices in the immediate neighborhood. According to the authors’ projections, reducing homicides by 10% in a single year would cost $10.5 million and yield a $13 million increase in property tax revenue. Over five years, the compounding effect of taxing an increasingly valuable home would bump the increased revenue to $114 million and the costs to $43 million — more than a 2.5-fold return on each dollar.

Did the eight cities in the 2012 CAP report begin violence prevention efforts in response to the study? Smith of Cities United doesn’t know. Such programs have begun in some of those cities since the report came out (Philadelphia and Boston, for instance), but it’s not clear that was in response to the report. 

Leaders in other cities may also be increasingly aware of the financial benefits of violence prevention. In a Chicago Sun-Times editorial last October, several city aldermen wrote that if Chicago rededicated to violence prevention just a fraction of the $3.5 billion it spends annually to cope with the downstream effects of gun violence, “we could save taxpayers billions of dollars every year.”

Funding can be the barrier

What does it actually take for a city to sustainably reduce violence? When Cities United helps a city try to achieve that goal, it starts with the mayors, Smith said. They choose a team of program champions from among their staff and the community. After a weeklong training at the organization’s Louisville, Ky. headquarters, that team starts down a path toward implementing a violence prevention program.

The biggest obstacles they face are not where you might expect them: Law enforcement officials are usually receptive to violence prevention programs, Smith said. “You hear over and over again, ‘We can’t arrest our way out of this,’” he said. 

It’s when the budget conversation starts that things get a little tricky. “The first thing that people go to is, ‘Are you taking dollars away?’” he said. And sometimes, to make sure enough is invested up front to help a violence prevention program be effective, money may indeed come out of the budget of a police department or another city line item. Smith tries to reframe the conversation around how violence prevention will help law enforcement meet its own goals, and the value of working in partnership: “It’s an add-on in the long term that makes everybody’s job easier.”

It’s not just law enforcement who pushes back on this change in paradigm: “Community members who don’t understand and who actually already feel safe because of law enforcement feel like they’re losing something, too,” he said. Elected officials seeking to appear “tough on crime” sometimes can’t see a path toward that image that includes violence prevention.

Smith pushes city officials to fund violence prevention programs fully and for the long term, as discontinuous or inadequate funding for these programs can cause real damage — not only to these programs’ credibility, but to the people at the heart of their work. Over the 20-year lifespan of Cure Violence, funding for the program’s Chicago sites has lapsed three times. Each lapse has been associated with striking increases in violence in the neighborhoods served by those sites. 

It’s not as simple as cause and effect, Crandall said, but when people sense a larger investment in and hope for the community from the outside, they may more readily think about alternatives to settling differences with a firearm. “When funding dramatically changes and people feel that they don’t matter anymore, then the fuse is shorter,” she said. “It’s a natural human reaction.”

Smith said he is often frustrated that the halfhearted funding of violence prevention programs results in incomplete “professionalization” of the people who put their lives on the line to do the street-level work: Outreach workers and violence interrupters usually work part-time and without benefits, he said, including mental health support and clear pathways for advancement. Inadequate support raises their risk for returning to illegal activities just to make ends meet, he said.

In communities where violence has been the norm for years, violence prevention programs alone are not enough to create durable change. For that reason, the second prong of Cities United’s approach is to ask mayors to think long term about what public safety really means. 

“It’s not about jails, law enforcement and detention centers, but it really is about access to quality education, access to affordable housing, opportunities to make a living wage,” Smith said. “We want to reduce homicides, but we also want to make sure that the folks that we’re keeping alive have reason to be alive, right?”

When the CAP report was published in 2012, its estimates indicated a 10% reduction in homicides in Jacksonville could save $4 million annually and lower costs to victims by $88 million annually. If homicides were reduced by a quarter, the added savings could enable the city to increase local spending on economic development by as much as 26%.

In 2019, the city’s Cure Violence program reportedly received $2.4 million from the city council, and the city recently requested an additional $750,000 from the Florida Legislature. U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, who represents an Illinois district that includes parts of Chicago, is working toward reintroducing a bill similar to the Public Health Violence Prevention Act, which he first introduced in 2017. That bill requested $1 billion in funding to broadly support programs aimed at reducing violence in a wide variety of sectors, including public health, nonprofits, health care facilities, schools and universities.

The message Smith sees in analyses like one Philadelphia conducted is clear: “We need to pay this up front because of what it saves us in the long run,” he said — and not just in the number of lives saved. “The bigger picture for most of the folks that you try to make the financial case to is, ‘What does the city gain in the end?’”

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Youth Relationship Building, Parenting, Financial Education and Job/Career Training Program Grants

OUR GRANT OPPORTUNITIES: Youth Today’s grant listings are carefully curated for our subscribers working in youth-related industries. Subscribers will find local, state, regional and national grant opportunities.

THIS GRANT’S FOCUS: Youth Development, Family Support, Parenting, Job/Career Training, Financial Education
Deadline:
July 1, 2020

“The Relationships, Education, Advancement, and Development for Youth for Life (READY4Life) grants will be targeted exclusively to youth, for projects designed to support healthy relationships and marriage, including the value of marriage in future family formation and skills-based healthy relationship and marriage education. Additionally, grants will support activities including parenting (for young fathers and mothers, as applicable), financial management, job and career advancement, and other activities. Projects must be targeted to youth, specified as individuals in high school (grades 9-12), or that are high-school aged or in late adolescence and early adulthood (ages 14 to 24). Applicants must submit proposals designed for youth as specified.

Applicants will be strongly encouraged to design programs targeted to one specific program model for one specific service population – e.g., youth in general high school settings, youth aging out of foster care, or youth who are parents– but not multiple models for multiple populations. Grants awarded will support family formation and strengthening activities through one or more of three healthy marriage promotion activities specified under the authorizing legislation: (1) marriage and relationship education/skills (MRES); (2) education in high schools; and (3) public advertising campaigns. ACF is interested in funding a diverse range of projects, from high impact projects, to moderate scope projects, to smaller scope projects. Applicants must provide evidence of organizational capacity to implement their proposed project.”

Funder: The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) – Office of Family Assistance (OFA)
Eligibility:
“All public and private entities are eligible to apply under this funding opportunity announcement (including, but not limited to, state, territorial, local, and quasi-governmental agencies, Native American tribal governments and tribal organizations, nonprofit organizations, independent school districts, public, private or Tribal institutions of higher education, and for-profit entities). Faith-based and community organizations that meet the eligibility requirements are eligible to receive awards under this funding opportunity announcement.”
Amount:
$500,000 – $1,500,000
Contact:
Link.


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Youth Relationship Building, Parenting, Financial Education and Job/Career Training Program Grants

OUR GRANT OPPORTUNITIES: Youth Today’s grant listings are carefully curated for our subscribers working in youth-related industries. Subscribers will find local, state, regional and national grant opportunities.

THIS GRANT’S FOCUS: Youth Development, Family Support, Parenting, Job/Career Training, Financial Education
Deadline:
July 1, 2020

“The Relationships, Education, Advancement, and Development for Youth for Life (READY4Life) grants will be targeted exclusively to youth, for projects designed to support healthy relationships and marriage, including the value of marriage in future family formation and skills-based healthy relationship and marriage education. Additionally, grants will support activities including parenting (for young fathers and mothers, as applicable), financial management, job and career advancement, and other activities. Projects must be targeted to youth, specified as individuals in high school (grades 9-12), or that are high-school aged or in late adolescence and early adulthood (ages 14 to 24). Applicants must submit proposals designed for youth as specified.

Applicants will be strongly encouraged to design programs targeted to one specific program model for one specific service population – e.g., youth in general high school settings, youth aging out of foster care, or youth who are parents– but not multiple models for multiple populations. Grants awarded will support family formation and strengthening activities through one or more of three healthy marriage promotion activities specified under the authorizing legislation: (1) marriage and relationship education/skills (MRES); (2) education in high schools; and (3) public advertising campaigns. ACF is interested in funding a diverse range of projects, from high impact projects, to moderate scope projects, to smaller scope projects. Applicants must provide evidence of organizational capacity to implement their proposed project.”

Funder: The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) – Office of Family Assistance (OFA)
Eligibility:
“All public and private entities are eligible to apply under this funding opportunity announcement (including, but not limited to, state, territorial, local, and quasi-governmental agencies, Native American tribal governments and tribal organizations, nonprofit organizations, independent school districts, public, private or Tribal institutions of higher education, and for-profit entities). Faith-based and community organizations that meet the eligibility requirements are eligible to receive awards under this funding opportunity announcement.”
Amount:
$500,000 – $1,500,000
Contact:
Link.


>>> CLICK HERE to see all of Youth Today’s GRANT LISTINGS

The post Youth Relationship Building, Parenting, Financial Education and Job/Career Training Program Grants appeared first on Youth Today.


Upper Midwest LGBTQIA Community Support During COVID Grants

OUR GRANT OPPORTUNITIES: Youth Today’s grant listings are carefully curated for our subscribers working in youth-related industries. Subscribers will find local, state, regional and national grant opportunities.

THIS GRANT’S FOCUS: COVID-19, LGBTQIA, LGBTQ Youth, Health, Human Services, Midwest
Deadline:
Ongoing

“The COVID-19 Response Fund is rapidly deploying resources to the LGBTQIA community affected by the coronavirus crisis. This Fund micro grants to individuals and nonprofits that are most affected by the Coronavirus.  The first round of grants is prioritizing the communities listed below, all of whom are particularly impacted by this crisis.

  • Low-income residents, including those without health insurance and/or access to sick days
  • Low-income workers in disproportionally impacted industries, such as healthcare and the service industry, as well as gig-economy workers
  • Residents with greater health risks, including people over age 60, people with compromised immune systems, and pregnant people
    • People experiencing homelessness
    • People with disabilities
    • Communities of color
    • Undocumented workers and families.”

Funder: The PFund Foundation
Eligibility:
Individuals, nonprofits and for-profits in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Amount:
Unspecified
Contact:
Link.


>>> CLICK HERE to see all of Youth Today’s GRANT LISTINGS

>>> CLICK HERE to see all of Youth Today’s COVID-19 GRANT LISTINGS

The post Upper Midwest LGBTQIA Community Support During COVID Grants appeared first on Youth Today.


Upper Midwest LGBTQIA Community Support During COVID Grants

OUR GRANT OPPORTUNITIES: Youth Today’s grant listings are carefully curated for our subscribers working in youth-related industries. Subscribers will find local, state, regional and national grant opportunities.

THIS GRANT’S FOCUS: COVID-19, LGBTQIA, LGBTQ Youth, Health, Human Services, Midwest
Deadline:
Ongoing

“The COVID-19 Response Fund is rapidly deploying resources to the LGBTQIA community affected by the coronavirus crisis. This Fund micro grants to individuals and nonprofits that are most affected by the Coronavirus.  The first round of grants is prioritizing the communities listed below, all of whom are particularly impacted by this crisis.

  • Low-income residents, including those without health insurance and/or access to sick days
  • Low-income workers in disproportionally impacted industries, such as healthcare and the service industry, as well as gig-economy workers
  • Residents with greater health risks, including people over age 60, people with compromised immune systems, and pregnant people
    • People experiencing homelessness
    • People with disabilities
    • Communities of color
    • Undocumented workers and families.”

Funder: The PFund Foundation
Eligibility:
Individuals, nonprofits and for-profits in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Amount:
Unspecified
Contact:
Link.


>>> CLICK HERE to see all of Youth Today’s GRANT LISTINGS

>>> CLICK HERE to see all of Youth Today’s COVID-19 GRANT LISTINGS

The post Upper Midwest LGBTQIA Community Support During COVID Grants appeared first on Youth Today.


Rural Quincy, Wash., Teens Respond To Pandemic, Help Adults With Digital Access

rural: Computer screen with people in 3 different boxes

From Quincy, Wash.,l 4-H group’s Facebook page

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Having young people teach digital skills to adults seems like a no-brainer. After all, how many adults have gotten a teenager to help them with an app or a device?

In spite of this talent pool, relatively few structured programs put teenage knowledge to use.

One program that has done so, however, is 4-H Tech Changemakers.

In May, three high school students sat in a car outside a public wi-fi hotspot in Quincy, Wash., with a laptop. Another student and their adult advisor joined them via Zoom. The group recorded a video letting Quincy residents know about four wi-fi hotspots set up for public use outside the library, community center and school.

“We’re making this video to let you guys know that we’re here to help you virtually with any questions you have about your phone or browsing the internet so feel free to send us a message through our Facebook page,” said Daisy Buenrostro, a Quincy HIgh School senior, on the video.

Vivian Geesy, a Quincy High junior, then gave the same message in Spanish.

Before the pandemic, the four girls had been teaching adults at weekly sessions at the Quincy Senior Center and Quincy public library.

They had taught two retired teachers to use their cell phones. A small business owner learned to make better use of his computer. A young man got lessons in Excel so he’d be prepared for his new job. Some people working on farms in the area came in to gain new skills.

“We’re a small rural community,” said Jeannie Keihn, Washington State University’s Grant County 4-H program coordinator. “Broadband connection is really difficult for a lot of people.” Quincy is located in an agricultural area that has a large Latino population. 

Across the United States, 19 million people in rural areas lack broadband internet. 

The 4-H Tech Changemakers program, begun in 2017 in a partnership between Microsoft and the National 4-H Council, was intended to increase digital skills in areas where they were lacking and to help young people become problem solvers around technology. Many of the grants to local 4-H programs end this summer. Theirs ends in July, but Keihn is hoping the program can somehow continue.

The 4-H members in Quincy chose to address the digital divide between adults and youth, Keihn said, which also connected the youth to their community and promoted respect.

As a youth development program, it can empower the teens as they become teachers and communicators.

When the coronavirus epidemic hit, the Quincy 4-H group had to figure out how to continue its work.

“The senior center was the first place to close,” Keihn said. The group discussed what could be done. They learned that wi-fi spots were being set up to broaden internet access during the pandemic.

“People could drive in [the hotspot area], stay in their cars, do work on computers or phone,” Keihn said.

After a lot of discussion, the group decided to reach people through Facebook, inform them about the hotspots and offer instruction. They plan to make additional videos, Keihn said.

Nora Medina, a Quincy High senior, said she enjoyed helping adults become more confident with computers and cell phones. “In the beginning, they were really shy with technology,” she told a Washington State University publication.

The fourth member of the group is Esmeralda Buenrostro, a sophomore at the school.

The post Rural Quincy, Wash., Teens Respond To Pandemic, Help Adults With Digital Access appeared first on Youth Today.


Boston COVID Crisis Food Access, Education, Health and Human Services Grants

OUR GRANT OPPORTUNITIES: Youth Today’s grant listings are carefully curated for our subscribers working in youth-related industries. Subscribers will find local, state, regional and national grant opportunities.

THIS GRANT’S FOCUS: COVID-19, Food Access, Child Welfare, Family Support, Education, Human Services, Boston
Deadline:
Ongoing

“The Boston Resiliency Fund is the City of Boston’s effort to help coordinate fundraising and philanthropic efforts to provide essential services to Boston residents whose health and well-being are most immediately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. We are also working to help first responders and critical care providers.

The priorities of the Boston Resiliency Fund are to:

  • provide food to Boston’s children, families and seniors
  • technology to Boston Public Schools students for remote learning, and
  • provide support to first responders, front-line workers and healthcare workers so they can effectively do their job and promote public health.

While we are focused on basic needs and critical services, we recognize that this crisis is evolving quickly. The priorities of this fund may change as the needs of Boston residents evolve.”

Funder: The Boston Resiliency Fund
Eligibility:
“This fund can only make grants to 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations or those groups with a 501(c)3 fiscal sponsor.”
Amount:
Unspecified
Contact:
Link.


>>> CLICK HERE to see all of Youth Today’s GRANT LISTINGS

>>> CLICK HERE to see all of Youth Today’s COVID-19 GRANT LISTINGS

The post Boston COVID Crisis Food Access, Education, Health and Human Services Grants appeared first on Youth Today.


Boston COVID Crisis Food Access, Education, Health and Human Services Grants

OUR GRANT OPPORTUNITIES: Youth Today’s grant listings are carefully curated for our subscribers working in youth-related industries. Subscribers will find local, state, regional and national grant opportunities.

THIS GRANT’S FOCUS: COVID-19, Food Access, Child Welfare, Family Support, Education, Human Services, Boston
Deadline:
Ongoing

“The Boston Resiliency Fund is the City of Boston’s effort to help coordinate fundraising and philanthropic efforts to provide essential services to Boston residents whose health and well-being are most immediately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. We are also working to help first responders and critical care providers.

The priorities of the Boston Resiliency Fund are to:

  • provide food to Boston’s children, families and seniors
  • technology to Boston Public Schools students for remote learning, and
  • provide support to first responders, front-line workers and healthcare workers so they can effectively do their job and promote public health.

While we are focused on basic needs and critical services, we recognize that this crisis is evolving quickly. The priorities of this fund may change as the needs of Boston residents evolve.”

Funder: The Boston Resiliency Fund
Eligibility:
“This fund can only make grants to 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations or those groups with a 501(c)3 fiscal sponsor.”
Amount:
Unspecified
Contact:
Link.


>>> CLICK HERE to see all of Youth Today’s GRANT LISTINGS

>>> CLICK HERE to see all of Youth Today’s COVID-19 GRANT LISTINGS

The post Boston COVID Crisis Food Access, Education, Health and Human Services Grants appeared first on Youth Today.


The Land of Inopportunity: Closing the Childhood Equity Gap for America’s Kids

See Full Report

Interactive Map

Author(s): Save the Children

  • Tracy Geoghegan
  • Beryl Levinger
  • Nikki Gillette

Published: June 2, 2020

Report Intro/Brief:
“Save the Children has created the first-ever ranking of U.S. counties where children are most and least prioritized and protected. Researchers examined data from more than 2,600 counties and county-equivalents in all 50 states. The rankings are based on four factors that cut childhood short: child hunger, poor education, teenage pregnancy and early death due to ill health, accident, murder or suicide. This report uncovers an unacceptable reality in America, where one child can be exponentially more likely than another to succeed in life based solely on the county where they grow up.”


>>> CLICK HERE to see all of Youth Today’s REPORT LIBRARY

The post The Land of Inopportunity: Closing the Childhood Equity Gap for America’s Kids appeared first on Youth Today.


The Land of Inopportunity: Closing the Childhood Equity Gap for America’s Kids

See Full Report

Interactive Map

Author(s): Save the Children

  • Tracy Geoghegan
  • Beryl Levinger
  • Nikki Gillette

Published: June 2, 2020

Report Intro/Brief:
“Save the Children has created the first-ever ranking of U.S. counties where children are most and least prioritized and protected. Researchers examined data from more than 2,600 counties and county-equivalents in all 50 states. The rankings are based on four factors that cut childhood short: child hunger, poor education, teenage pregnancy and early death due to ill health, accident, murder or suicide. This report uncovers an unacceptable reality in America, where one child can be exponentially more likely than another to succeed in life based solely on the county where they grow up.”


>>> CLICK HERE to see all of Youth Today’s REPORT LIBRARY

The post The Land of Inopportunity: Closing the Childhood Equity Gap for America’s Kids appeared first on Youth Today.


New Types of Therapy Hold Promise at One Treatment Foster Care Program

therapy: Adult bearded man rejects advice of family psychologist; woman and child sit next to him looking upset

Freeograph/Shutterstock

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Vast, beautiful land coupled with a rich history and cultural allure solidify the reality of New Mexico as the “Land of Enchantment.” Beyond the beauty, reports about the state are often of broken systems, poverty, addiction, high crime rate and its status as the lowest-ranking state for overall child well-being. 

Child-serving agencies in the state are working tirelessly to improve the lives of New Mexico’s children. One treatment foster care (TFC) program in northwest New Mexico is determined to resist the negative outlook assumed of the New Mexican foster care system and instead focus on providing the children in its care with the best possible outcomes, including discharge to a lower level of care, zero restraints and shorter treatment timelines.

Childhaven has served the Four Corners region for 50 years through its children’s emergency shelter, children’s advocacy center, parent education, child and family therapy, CASA volunteer and treatment foster care (TFC) programs. The organization’s proximity to rural, tribal lands greatly influences the composition of its client population, approximately 50% of which are Native American children. 

therapy: Andrea Pena (headshot), development director of Childhaven Foundation, smiling woman with brown hair

Andrea Pena

Its TFC program, staffed by a majority Native American personnel, is the only therapeutic placement of its kind for traumatized children in the northwestern corner of New Mexico. The program makes every effort to keep sibling groups together, who might be split up if placed elsewhere. It also serves as an alternative to residential treatment centers, which do not offer a home-like environment. 

The organization’s experienced foster parents support the healing of their foster children in a variety of ways including accompanying them to therapy appointments, family-centered meetings and educational planning meetings. A group of program staff called treatment coordinators oversee this highly regulated Medicaid-funded program that provides 24/7 support to eight foster homes and can care for up to 19 children. 

Accountability is high in this program. Treatment coordinators conduct weekly check-ins at each home and visit with each child in their care to monitor treatment progress and overall well-being. Approximately 80% of the children placed in the program discharge to a lower level of care, assuring the least restrictive environment for children. Over the last five years, Childhaven has seen the length of stay among children in the program trend downward, showing the treatment methods are working to reunite children with permanent placements more quickly.

New types of treatment

Treatment foster parents undergo rigorous initial and ongoing training to support their foster child’s ability to overcome behavioral challenges and ultimately transition successfully out of the program and into a safe, permanent home. Recently, the program adopted a new treatment modality, the Nurtured Heart Approach (NHA). Previous models fell short in their ability to prepare caregivers to effectively support children with higher than average emotional and behavioral needs. 

Through the Nurtured Heart Approach, caregivers are trained to strengthen the caregiver-child relationship and improve the way the child relates to themselves and the world, thereby improving the child’s chance at a successful placement in the future. Childhaven is not the only organization in the state to transition to the NHA. Many others are doing so as well, with the hope of reducing foster care placement disruptions and, more generally, the removal of New Mexican children from their biological homes. 

As the majority of children in the program are Native American, the Indian Child Welfare Act applies and prioritizes permanent placements with Native American families. Childhaven employs a certified NHA trainer who assures the program’s foster parents, staff and future placement parents are well-versed in the approach. This has enabled the organization to enhance outcomes in their treatment foster care program and attract more prospective foster parents.  

Therapy is provided to the child at least weekly and the child’s biological parents, relatives or parents vying for guardianship are included in family therapy when the treatment team concurs the child is ready to move on to this step. This helps prepare the family to continue using the tools the child has learned in treatment. 

Currently, therapists are learning a new evidence-based model called Alternatives for Families, which uses cognitive behavioral techniques geared especially for families that have experienced trauma related to domestic violence, substance abuse, family conflicts, physical aggression, anger and all forms of child abuse. This trauma-informed approach is an intervention designed to improve the relationship between children and their caregivers by addressing individual and family problems. 

Perspective from a highly regulated TFC program utilizing evidence-based treatment modalities could seem inconsequential to some. However, the program serves as a lifeline of hope for many children in the Four Corners region of the United States in need of healing from the abuse, neglect and abandonment they did not deserve. 

Childhaven’s mission of “Lifting Children from Crisis to Hope” is their daily focus and method for navigating a system presumed to be broken. As valuable work and advocacy regarding child welfare and foster care continue in New Mexico, Childhaven will be among the organizations working to improve the overall health and well-being of children in the state. Its treatment philosophies and standards of best practice will continue to evolve alongside research in the field to give children in the area the best chance of achieving positive outcomes. 

Andrea Pena is the development director of the Childhaven Foundation.

Childhaven’s Erin Hourihan (CEO), Elex Portell (executive assistant), Amanda Litschke (foster care program director), Michelle Renaud (clinical supervisor) and Galadriel Currin (foster care liaison/treatment coordinator) contributed to this column.

The post New Types of Therapy Hold Promise at One Treatment Foster Care Program appeared first on Youth Today.


Adriana Rocha is the New President of Neighborhood Funders Group

Adrian Rocha newsmaker headshot; smiling latino woman with flowery shirt

NFG

Adriana Rocha

Adriana Rocha is the new president of Neighborhood Funders Group (NFG) after serving for three years as its vice president of programs.

Former president, Dennis Quirin, left NFG in July 2019 prompting the board to undertake a nationwide search. NFG has not been leaderless during this search, as Rocha and vice president of operations, Sarita Ahuja, have served as interim co-directors since Quirin’s departure. Now Rocha has been selected for the top job permanently.

With more than two decades of experience in the philanthropic sector and her years already at NFG, Rocha comes into the position without the need for a lengthy adjustment period.

Rocha first arrived at NFG in early 2016 after working for about a year as a philanthropy and nonprofit consultant in the New York City area. Rocha’s career, however, is most defined by her work in executive positions.

This executive experience began in early 2004 when Rocha was hired as a program officer at the New York Foundation, managing a $1.8 million grants portfolio focused on funding community organizing and advocacy throughout the city. After more than four years, Rocha moved to San Francisco to take a job as practice director for CompassPoint Nonprofit Services. There she led the company’s programs developing and providing nonprofit strategies and support to organizations and social change initiatives for more than six years.

In 2015, Rocha moved back to familiar New York City to become the director of grants and capacity building at the Just Beginnings Collaborative, a nonprofit dedicated to initiating, funding and guiding efforts to end child sexual abuse. It was after a little more than a year in this position that she went into independent consulting. Then, after another year, NFG came calling.

Alison Corwin, Chair of the NFG board excitedly endorsed Rocha’s appointment as president in a press release; “We deeply trust Adriana is the bold, skilled, and creative President we all need at NFG to usher in an exciting new era and build on our 40 strong years of success and expertise. She is able to both foster the necessary partnerships and push philanthropy to create a stronger, collective vision of justice. She embodies the values & goals of members, board, and staff, and her joy is magnetic!”

Adriana Rocha has already assumed her role at the head of Neighborhood Funders Group, becoming the organization’s sixth president in its 40 year history.

The post Adriana Rocha is the New President of Neighborhood Funders Group appeared first on Youth Today.


Adriana Rocha is the New President of Neighborhood Funders Group

Adrian Rocha newsmaker headshot; smiling latino woman with flowery shirt

NFG

Adriana Rocha

Adriana Rocha is the new president of Neighborhood Funders Group (NFG) after serving for three years as its vice president of programs.

Former president, Dennis Quirin, left NFG in July 2019 prompting the board to undertake a nationwide search. NFG has not been leaderless during this search, as Rocha and vice president of operations, Sarita Ahuja, have served as interim co-directors since Quirin’s departure. Now Rocha has been selected for the top job permanently.

With more than two decades of experience in the philanthropic sector and her years already at NFG, Rocha comes into the position without the need for a lengthy adjustment period.

Rocha first arrived at NFG in early 2016 after working for about a year as a philanthropy and nonprofit consultant in the New York City area. Rocha’s career, however, is most defined by her work in executive positions.

This executive experience began in early 2004 when Rocha was hired as a program officer at the New York Foundation, managing a $1.8 million grants portfolio focused on funding community organizing and advocacy throughout the city. After more than four years, Rocha moved to San Francisco to take a job as practice director for CompassPoint Nonprofit Services. There she led the company’s programs developing and providing nonprofit strategies and support to organizations and social change initiatives for more than six years.

In 2015, Rocha moved back to familiar New York City to become the director of grants and capacity building at the Just Beginnings Collaborative, a nonprofit dedicated to initiating, funding and guiding efforts to end child sexual abuse. It was after a little more than a year in this position that she went into independent consulting. Then, after another year, NFG came calling.

Alison Corwin, Chair of the NFG board excitedly endorsed Rocha’s appointment as president in a press release; “We deeply trust Adriana is the bold, skilled, and creative President we all need at NFG to usher in an exciting new era and build on our 40 strong years of success and expertise. She is able to both foster the necessary partnerships and push philanthropy to create a stronger, collective vision of justice. She embodies the values & goals of members, board, and staff, and her joy is magnetic!”

Adriana Rocha has already assumed her role at the head of Neighborhood Funders Group, becoming the organization’s sixth president in its 40 year history.

The post Adriana Rocha is the New President of Neighborhood Funders Group appeared first on Youth Today.


Role of Guns Not Tracked For LGBT Community

Zane Hall

Today, Synthia Roy works at a tattoo parlor in Jacksonville, Fla., she does set design and makeup for horror films and recently produced her second movie. 

But seven years ago, in her mid-30s, her life was a blur. In college, she’d turned to alcohol and drugs, finding they helped her express herself. Roy was a closeted transgender woman living a life that felt like a lie. Over time, the coping mechanism became a crutch.

“I was very depressed and sometimes suicidal when I wasn’t drunk,” she said. Eventually she became “a raging alcoholic.”

Like many LGBT people, Roy was terrified of coming out. 

“I’m a transgender woman, and that was hard growing up,” she said. “Going through puberty for anyone is like, ‘Who am I? What am I doing?’ Can you imagine if you were  — to use the term  — growing up or born in the wrong body?”

Sometimes she hurt herself.

“Cutting is in my mind is the alternative to suicide because it’s a stress relief,” she said.

Then, at age 35, Roy came out.

It was a relief, though it didn’t cure her addictions. A year and a half later, in 2013, she gave up drugs and booze overnight.

“They tell you never to do that,” she said. “I’m a perfect example of why because I had several seizures and went into a coma.”

When she woke up two weeks later, she’d lost her memory and ability to read. She’d also been fired from the tattoo parlor where she’d worked for 17 years. 

Still, today, Roy counts the coma as the best thing that ever happened to her.

“My mental health, my health in general, started there,” she said.

Afterward, she was sober, 40 pounds lighter and ready to work on herself in therapy.

LGBT people experience depression and suicidal tendencies at disproportionately high rates. At the same time, bisexual women and transgender women of color are among the groups more likely to experience violence..

There are numerous holes in the data, however, such as the role of guns in the LGBT community. Those holes hinder efforts to address violence and self-harm, advocates and researchers say. But some, including a group in Jacksonville, are working to fill in the knowledge gaps. 

Hurting on the inside

The Jacksonville-Area Community Assessment in 2017 found 28% of local LGBT adults surveyed met the criteria for moderate or severe depression, as compared to 7% of the overall adult population. The survey, conducted by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, found nearly two-thirds of transgender people reported they experienced moderate to severe depression, and 11% had attempted suicide — roughly four times that of the cisgender people surveyed. Just under 3% of the cisgender population surveyed had considered suicide.

“For a lot of different transgender people, there are mental health issues all over the place,” Roy said.

She has known multiple transgender people who took their own lives.

One study involving 18 states found that firearms were the second most common method of suicide for LGB people and the third most common for transgender people, the Williams Institute reports. Yet sexual orientation and gender identity/expression aren’t included in death certificates, and national and state databases that track suicide rarely collect this identifying information.

LGBT: Woman with long red hair, 2 tattoo sleeves in flowered tank top works at desk

Claire Goforth

Synthia Roy knows multiple transgender people who took their own lives. She has been a happier person since she came out at 35.

Much more is known about LGBT mental health issues  — and the barriers to accessing treatment. 

For Roy, therapy helped pave the road to recovery. For others, therapy is out of reach. Dan Merkan, director of policy at JASMYN (Jacksonville Area Sexual Youth Minority Network) said that the population it serves — LGBT youth and young adults — often simply can’t afford counseling, partially due to high rates of unemployment and poverty. 

“It’s one of the more complicated pieces because a lot of people don’t have access to good insurance,” Merkan said. 

Even if they can afford to, it can be difficult to find medical professionals who treat LGBT people in Jacksonville. Roy described calling doctors for a common treatment only to be told they wouldn’t provide it because she’s transgender. But she stressed that providers are available — you just have to look. Some therapists will charge on a sliding scale.

Roy said the stigma around mental health, plus the added stigma about being transgender, may have kept her from coming out earlier. 

“I did not want to be ridiculed,” she said.

Manuel Velasquez-Paredes directs the University of North Florida’s LGBT Resource Center

“The first thing that we need to do is tackle the stigma that mental health is a negative thing,” he said. “We all need someone to talk to.”

Velasquez-Paredes said the LGBT Resource Center will connect anyone in the community to help — student or not. And there are alternatives if therapy is out of reach. Local and national support groups, chats and other online resources specialize in LGBT mental health, like JASMYN’s near-daily chats on its website, and innumerable Facebook support groups, such as one Roy co-founded called Trans and Sober.

But as much as it can help, the internet can also hurt mental health.

“It can have ups and downs. It can be supportive, it can be problematic,” Merkan said.

If you are in Florida and experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 211 for help, or visit the United Way website here.

External forces

When researchers ask why the LGBT community has a higher risk for mental health issues, economics, acceptance, awareness and equal rights come up again and again.

Money has a well-documented effect on mental health and suicide. While it may be impossible to buy happiness, it’s harder to be happy when you can’t make rent.

Like other minorities, LGBT people are more likely to struggle financially than non-minorities. One-in-five LGBT people had been food insecure in the previous year, meaning they skipped meals because they couldn’t afford to eat, in a recent survey. That’s nearly twice the rate experienced by the U.S. as a whole.

Acceptance and equal rights go hand-in-glove with economic instability for the LGBT community, Merkan said. 

“Because of what LGBT people face, whether it be family rejection, isolation, stigmatization, actual structural discrimination, everyday discrimination, all these things [have] a compounding effect,” Merkan said.

The lack of legal protections can exacerbate discrimination and, in turn, mental health issues.

“It’s been scientifically proven that states that have passed marriage equality laws, the suicide rates among LGBT community dropped,” Velasquez-Paredes said.

“When you hear our politicians saying that LGBT people don’t deserve equal rights … that creates homophobia, it creates transphobia,” he added.

Three years ago, Jacksonville passed an inclusive human rights ordinance that prohibited employment, housing and public accommodation discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. It was a hard-fought victory for LGBT people and allies. Then earlier this month, a court struck down that ordinance on a technicality. The city has appealed the ruling, and City Council is considering a new ordinance that corrects the issue. But for the time being, it’s legal to discriminate against LGBT people in Jacksonville.

On the national level, the U.S. Supreme Court is to rule later this year on whether LGBT people are protected from discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Trump administration is challenging the stance that the prohibition of sex discrimination applies to gender and sexual minorities.

Today, simply displaying a picture of your significant other can legally serve as an excuse to be fired, Velasquez-Paredes said. That’s why coming out can be frightening. But staying in the closet is often detrimental to mental health.

Before she came out, Roy was terrified of losing her relationship with her mother. A great weight lifted when her mother, now deceased, accepted her.

“I didn’t come out until I was 35. That’s 35 years of being someone I’m not. What if someone told you you had to be someone you’re not for 35 years?” she said. “That will drive you to suicide if you don’t express who you are.”

Now 44, she mentors other transgender people. The fear and shame that kept her in the closet and from seeking help are long gone. She may struggle from time to time, but that’s just life.

“Everybody somewhere along the line needs a little help,” Roy said.

Violence against LGBT people

Like with suicide, no one knows for sure how many LGBT people are murdered or assaulted, and domestic violence in this community is largely not tracked. 

That’s why JASMYN is working on an online reporting form and community survey to ask about violence, including hate crimes, human trafficking, domestic violence and bullying, with funding from the Arcus Foundation.

Several factors complicate LGBT violence tracking. Sometimes trans people are known by a name other than their legal name. In the event of their murder, friends may not find out they were killed because police and media might only report their legal name. Sometimes victims of violence are reticent to reveal the true nature of the relationship to police.

“If they say ‘roommate,’ then that is going to not be marked on the police report as domestic violence,” said Gail Patin, CEO of Hubbard House, a local domestic violence shelter.

LGBT victims of domestic violence might have their sexuality or gender identity wielded as a weapon by their abuser, she said. Some will threaten to out them to friends, family or to the parent of their children.

Hubbard House serves all victims of domestic violence, offering shelter, outreach services, representation in court, support groups and crisis counseling. 

“If you reach out to Hubbard House for help, we believe you,” Patin said.

If you or someone you know are experiencing domestic violence, call Hubbard House’s 24-hour hotline at 904-354-3114 or text 904-210-3698 to get help. Outside the Jacksonville area, call 1-800-500-1119. If you’re in immediate danger, call 911.

This is the second in a Northeast Florida-focused series collaboration between WJCT and the Center for Sustainable Journalism, which publishes Youth Today and the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. This series is part of the Center’s national project on gun violence. Support is provided by The Kendeda Fund. The Center is solely responsible for the content and maintains editorial independence.

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Newly Updated Technology Helps CYFD Stay in Touch

Big sign at parking lot that says cyfd, child wellness center.

Steve Jansen

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When Brian Blalock entered his new job as cabinet secretary at the Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) approximately a year and a half ago, he said there was no way for any of the approximately 2,200 employees to access the database unless they were in the office.

“There was no ability to remote into a [virtual private network] or access our data system,” said Blalock, who adds that CYFD’s technology was at least 15 years behind the times.

But over the past year-plus, CYFD has made “mind-blowing” technological advances, he said. A revamped information technologies department — which was in the works before the COVID-19 crisis but accelerated due to it — has enabled the protective services and juvenile justice divisions to manage cases with efficiency, even though a majority of face-to-face meetings are largely off limits per the New Mexico Supreme Court. CYFD’s technology still has room to grow, but Blalock says the overall upgrades have paid off during the pandemic and should continue to help CYFD staff, youth in care and families down the line. 

“Our IT department has been amazing during the time of the pandemic, and we’re building an infrastructure that’s going to benefit us and our children and families for years after,” Blalock said. 

He insists that he’s not hyperbolizing when he says he entered the dark ages of technology when he started at CYFD in January 2019. “Our data system is written in COBOL,” he said, referring to Common Business Oriented Language, a programming language that dates back to 1959. “It’s unreal.”

Fast forward to today, where approximately 80% of CYFD’s staff members are telecommuting and accessing the server from home, he said.

“Our technology has hit light speed but it’s still behind. Instead of 1992 technology, maybe we have 2004 technology,” said Blalock, only slightly tongue in cheek.

Some youth, families don’t have connectivity

The state child welfare agency, which is making plans to integrate two separate data systems that don’t always talk to one another, procured funding from the New Mexico Legislature to build out a state-of-the-art data module. Additionally, the agency is working with the New Mexico Human Services Department to create an integrated database system. “The pandemic isn’t going to slow that down,” he said.

For CYFD’s case workers, they now have the ability to remotely log into the database and enter critical information to each case file following a visit with a child or adult, which, these days, predominantly takes place by phone or video. This has been crucial for effective case management as well as personal safety, Blalock said. 

“If we don’t have technology, our workers can’t telework and we would be putting them at increased risk for exposure,” he said. 

While CYFD’s technology is now firmly rooted in this century, that’s often not the case for some New Mexico families. Internet connectivity for some youth and parents, especially for those living in rural or resource-poor areas, are either so slow it’s not worth even trying to join a Zoom meeting or there’s no online connection at all.

[Related: New Mexico Tribal, State Leaders Pulling Together Against Pandemic]

[Related: COVID-19 Challenges Don’t Stop Carlsbad Transitional Housing Program]

[Related: For New Mexican, Tribal Leaders, It’s ‘All Hands on Deck’ in 2 Counties]

[Related: Las Cruces Case Worker Helping Youth Who Have Aged Out of Care Plus the System-involved]

That’s why protective services staff have been “overvisiting” youth and families with phone calls, video conferencing (when possible) and text messages. The Albuquerque-based child advocacy nonprofits NMCAN and New Day Youth and Family Services have helped organize Zoom calls with former youth in care who might need extra support during the pandemic. And CYFD has distributed phones to biological parents so that they can keep in touch with their kids who are in foster care placements.

CYFD’s Behavioral Health Services division recently received the go-ahead from federal officials to perform telehealth through popular platforms, such as Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts and the encrypted messaging service Signal, Blalock said. These apps were not federally approved for telemedicine before the coronavirus, he said.

“We’re trying to get as many clinicians as we can into the computers and the smartphones of all of our kids and parents who need [telehealth] during this time of great anxiety and panic,” he said.

Like other difficulties that have confronted CYFD during the coronavirus outbreak, the organization is taking an optimistic, long-game approach to its technology improvements. 

“[The pandemic] is a horrible tragedy, but we’ve deployed technology that’s helping people now through this emergency situation,” Blalock said. “It’s also going to put us in better shape to help children later.” 

This story is part of a Youth Today project on foster care in New Mexico. It’s made possible in part by the May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust. Youth Today is solely responsible for the content and maintains editorial independence.

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New Mexico, and U.S., Needs Help With Both Immediate Needs, Ultimate Causes

trauma: Toddler in water waving his hands frantically while shouting for help

ivandivandelen/Shutterstock

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A few years ago I attended a workshop on Theatre of the Oppressed, an approach to community education based on the use of theater. The facilitator opened with a story. 

There was a community near a river, and one day some people there heard the sounds of a baby crying in the water. They rushed to pull the baby to safety, and while doing so noticed another baby, then a third. On and on babies kept floating downstream. Soon the banks were lined with townspeople frantically pulling these babies to safety, but they had trouble keeping up. 

trauma: John Lash (headshot), was director of Georgia Conflict Center, smiling balding man with graying beard, mustache

John Lash

As more people were coming to help, they noticed a small group heading out of town. “Where are you going? We need help!” they cried. One of the group answered, “Upstream, to see who is putting these babies in the river!”

This split between addressing immediate needs and looking for ultimate causes is common in many settings, including among those who are interested in how to best protect youth. Among those who study child welfare it is well known that New Mexico consistently ranks at or near the bottom of many national measures. As is often the case, attempts to combat the problem have often been ineffective and are frequently politicized, and kids have continued to pay the price. 

My own work in restorative justice started off with a focus on schools and how to implement better ways of creating community and justice in school communities, but it didn’t take long to realize that things were complex. As in virtually every sphere of our society, those who were marginalized seemed to suffer more from the failings of our system. The same is true in New Mexico with regard to the child welfare system, where kids of color suffer disproportionate rates of harm. 

Poverty, ineffective programming, lack of universal child and health care, shortages of critical staff and resources and many other issues are connected to New Mexico’s struggles to keep their kids safe. For years, this constellation of systemic issues has worsened the crisis. One ray of hope is the recently settled lawsuit against New Mexico’s Children, Youth, and Families Department (CYFD), filed in 2018 by attorneys representing 13 children under CYFD supervision.

The settlement was collaborative, with CYFD agreeing to address many concerns, including the placement of Native American youth and how to be responsive to high levels of trauma among their vulnerable charges. It makes many important changes to the way kids are protected as well as providing means of oversight and monitoring. However, much remains to be done, including legislative support of an expansion of CYFD resources to fill in personnel gaps. 

So, the lawsuit has brought needed changes that impact those standing on the river bank, and to a lesser degree finding out what is going on upstream, but it by no means solves the larger issues that face not only New Mexico, but all of the nation. My guess is that we’ll need to make plenty more trips upstream before we can solve this problem. 

John Lash, a Ph.D. student studying restorative justice and racial disproportionality, was director of Georgia Conflict Center from 2012 to 2019. His interest in nonviolence, restorative justice and community-based peacebuilding began during his nearly 25 years as a prisoner in Georgia.  

The post New Mexico, and U.S., Needs Help With Both Immediate Needs, Ultimate Causes appeared first on Youth Today.


New Mexico, and U.S., Needs Help With Both Immediate Needs, Ultimate Causes

trauma: Toddler in water waving his hands frantically while shouting for help

ivandivandelen/Shutterstock

.

A few years ago I attended a workshop on Theatre of the Oppressed, an approach to community education based on the use of theater. The facilitator opened with a story. 

There was a community near a river, and one day some people there heard the sounds of a baby crying in the water. They rushed to pull the baby to safety, and while doing so noticed another baby, then a third. On and on babies kept floating downstream. Soon the banks were lined with townspeople frantically pulling these babies to safety, but they had trouble keeping up. 

trauma: John Lash (headshot), was director of Georgia Conflict Center, smiling balding man with graying beard, mustache

John Lash

As more people were coming to help, they noticed a small group heading out of town. “Where are you going? We need help!” they cried. One of the group answered, “Upstream, to see who is putting these babies in the river!”

This split between addressing immediate needs and looking for ultimate causes is common in many settings, including among those who are interested in how to best protect youth. Among those who study child welfare it is well known that New Mexico consistently ranks at or near the bottom of many national measures. As is often the case, attempts to combat the problem have often been ineffective and are frequently politicized, and kids have continued to pay the price. 

My own work in restorative justice started off with a focus on schools and how to implement better ways of creating community and justice in school communities, but it didn’t take long to realize that things were complex. As in virtually every sphere of our society, those who were marginalized seemed to suffer more from the failings of our system. The same is true in New Mexico with regard to the child welfare system, where kids of color suffer disproportionate rates of harm. 

Poverty, ineffective programming, lack of universal child and health care, shortages of critical staff and resources and many other issues are connected to New Mexico’s struggles to keep their kids safe. For years, this constellation of systemic issues has worsened the crisis. One ray of hope is the recently settled lawsuit against New Mexico’s Children, Youth, and Families Department (CYFD), filed in 2018 by attorneys representing 13 children under CYFD supervision.

The settlement was collaborative, with CYFD agreeing to address many concerns, including the placement of Native American youth and how to be responsive to high levels of trauma among their vulnerable charges. It makes many important changes to the way kids are protected as well as providing means of oversight and monitoring. However, much remains to be done, including legislative support of an expansion of CYFD resources to fill in personnel gaps. 

So, the lawsuit has brought needed changes that impact those standing on the river bank, and to a lesser degree finding out what is going on upstream, but it by no means solves the larger issues that face not only New Mexico, but all of the nation. My guess is that we’ll need to make plenty more trips upstream before we can solve this problem. 

John Lash, a Ph.D. student studying restorative justice and racial disproportionality, was director of Georgia Conflict Center from 2012 to 2019. His interest in nonviolence, restorative justice and community-based peacebuilding began during his nearly 25 years as a prisoner in Georgia.  

The post New Mexico, and U.S., Needs Help With Both Immediate Needs, Ultimate Causes appeared first on Youth Today.


Homeless and Runaway Youth Services Training Center Program Grant

OUR GRANT OPPORTUNITIES: Youth Today’s grant listings are carefully curated for our subscribers working in youth-related industries. Subscribers will find local, state, regional and national grant opportunities.

THIS GRANT’S FOCUS: Homeless/Runaway Youth, Youth Welfare, Youth Services, Street Youth
Deadline:
June 26, 2020

“The Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) supports a national Training and Technical Assistance effort designed to enhance and promote continuous best practices and quality improvement of services for youth and families served by FYSB funded runaway and homeless youth grantees. FYSB expects to award one cooperative agreement to enhance the programmatic and administrative capacities of public and private agencies to provide services to the targeted populations. Applicants must serve all ten ACF Federal Regions and may include subject matter experts and/or subcontractors to provide services that cover regional multi-state areas.”

Funder: Administration for Children & Families – Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB)
Eligibility:
“Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, private institutions of higher education, public and state controlled institutions of higher education, Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments), others.”
Amount:
$1,800,000 – $2,100,000
Contact:
Link.


>>> CLICK HERE to see all of Youth Today’s GRANT LISTINGS

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Homeless and Runaway Youth Services Training Center Program Grant

OUR GRANT OPPORTUNITIES: Youth Today’s grant listings are carefully curated for our subscribers working in youth-related industries. Subscribers will find local, state, regional and national grant opportunities.

THIS GRANT’S FOCUS: Homeless/Runaway Youth, Youth Welfare, Youth Services, Street Youth
Deadline:
June 26, 2020

“The Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) supports a national Training and Technical Assistance effort designed to enhance and promote continuous best practices and quality improvement of services for youth and families served by FYSB funded runaway and homeless youth grantees. FYSB expects to award one cooperative agreement to enhance the programmatic and administrative capacities of public and private agencies to provide services to the targeted populations. Applicants must serve all ten ACF Federal Regions and may include subject matter experts and/or subcontractors to provide services that cover regional multi-state areas.”

Funder: Administration for Children & Families – Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB)
Eligibility:
“Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, private institutions of higher education, public and state controlled institutions of higher education, Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments), others.”
Amount:
$1,800,000 – $2,100,000
Contact:
Link.


>>> CLICK HERE to see all of Youth Today’s GRANT LISTINGS

The post Homeless and Runaway Youth Services Training Center Program Grant appeared first on Youth Today.


Community, Education, Youth Development, Arts, Culture and Disaster Relief Program Grants

OUR GRANT OPPORTUNITIES: Youth Today’s grant listings are carefully curated for our subscribers working in youth-related industries. Subscribers will find local, state, regional and national grant opportunities.

THIS GRANT’S FOCUS: Arts/Culture, Community, Disaster Relief, Education, Youth Development
Deadline:
Nov. 19, 2020

“Since its establishment in 1989, the Sprint Foundation has provided millions of dollars to community organizations across the country. A separate legal entity from Sprint, the Sprint Foundation is able to make an impact where it is needed most, supporting hundreds of organizations every year that focus on education, arts and culture, youth development, community development, and disaster relief. Through direct grants, the Sprint Foundation creatively and thoughtfully acts as a champion for our communities.

The Sprint Foundation’s funding priorities are:

  • Arts and culture – The Sprint Foundation supports arts organizations that have effective outreach programs that broaden cultural experiences for the general public, particularly youth and non-traditional audiences.
  • Community development Sprint and the Sprint Foundation support initiatives that contribute to a strong civic infrastructure and a vibrant, healthy community.
  • Disaster relief Sprint and the Sprint Foundation support emergency relief and rebuilding efforts in order to help families and entire communities get back on their feet.
  • Education  The Sprint Foundation supports K-12 education with an emphasis on urban education that supports student achievement, college and career readiness and educator development. Priority is given to programs that promote and advance quality public education in urban schools.
  • Youth development – The Sprint Foundation’s funding of youth development organizations is targeted towards activities and programs that focus on building leadership and social skills, promoting business and economic education, and supporting technology and mentoring. Particular emphasis is given to programs providing assistance for at-risk and minority youth.”

Funder: The Sprint Foundation
Eligibility:
“Non–profit tax–exempt organizations under Section 501c3 of the IRC (unless a public school or library).”
Amount:
Unspecified
Contact:
Link.


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